Run like the wind – perhaps you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – flash fiction

a couple of years ago

It’s so easy to prejudge people and sometimes this nasty habit comes back to bite you on the bum.

‘Run Like the Wind’ is a piece of flash fiction drawn from my time as a bookies cashier. You would see all manner of people in a bookmaker’s, young, old, rich and poor, easy going and troublesome. A cashier’s job is tough, you have to be courteous to the customers even when they are an absolute nightmare!

The bookies was full as usual, being a Saturday. The young lads were filling in their football coupons with dreams of a holiday in Florida. The old fellas were poring over the Racing Post looking for Treble gold. Old Bobby hunched over, pushed his wheeled walker up to his favourite table and eased his creaking bones into the stained chair. He took out a magnifying glass from his shabby coat and opened the paper. The magnifier shook gently like a leaf in a soft breeze. After ten minutes his betting slip was still blank.

Kyle the cashier was sweeping piles of scrumpled betting slips off the tables and stopped to pass the time of day with the shop’s longest serving customer.

“Is this the day you break the bank Bobby?”

“One day young Kyle, one day.”

“You’ll have to put more than 50p on it then.”

“I’m sensible with my money, not like some of these idiots. We had to be careful in the War you know, the youth of today have no idea, it’s spend spend spend with no care for tomorrow. Spend all their dole, no money for the family.”

“Okay mate take it easy.”

Bobby finally rested on ‘a winner’ and wrote out his slip. He passed it to Kyle. “Put that on for us, here’s me money.”

“Am I your servant,” Kyle grumbled.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

Kyle went behind the counter and entered his bet. Beryl the manager looked on.

“Run like the wind? He must be joking it’s 100/1”

“Well you know Bobby, can’t pick his nose.”

“He can, and he wipes it under the table. What’s the stake, 50p, tight old git.?”

“I know, peel an orange in his pocket.”

“Run like the wind, full of wind usually,” said Beryl holding her nose.

The race announcer in the background interrupted their conversation.

“The surprise winner of the 2:30 at Uttoxeter was Run Like the Wind.”

Before they could speak Bobby was at the counter.

“That’s fifty quid young Kyle,” said Bobby shoving his slip over the counter.

Kyle counted out five tenner’s in shocked silence.

“Here you and Beryl have a drink on me,” said Bobby shoving a tenner back.

“Cheers Bobby,” said the gobsmacked Kyle, “that’s very generous, thanks very much.”

“See you tomorrow,” said Bobby and pushed his walker to the door, a little more upright than when he came in.

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